Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
More billionaires join the Giving Pledge. Kudos go out this morning to at least 16 billionaires who announced yesterday that they will join the Giving Pledge, the charitable project started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in which the wealthiest Americans commit to giving away at least half of their wealth to charity. Among the notable names who joined the pledge are Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and corporate raider Carl Icahn. Of special note, also taking the pledge was our fearless leader, Joe Mansueto, founder of Morningstar and owner of Inc. and Fast Company magazines.
Congress's new face of entrepreneurship? Meet Bobby Schilling. He's been the owner of Giuseppe's Heavenly Pizza in Moline, Illinois, for the past 14 years. But in January, he'll be spending a lot more time in Washington, D.C., as the U.S. representative of the 17th district of Illinois in the 112th Congress. Schilling's 21-year-old son is running the pizza shop while his dad ponders his purpose as a public servant. So far, he hopes to push for laws that will help small-business owners minimize paperwork and tax stress. His philosophy, not unlike his entrepreneurial peers in Congress, who are mostly Republican, is "limited government, less taxes," CNNMoney reports.
Silicon Valley's 16 to watch. Today's Business Insider has a list of the Valley's up-and-coming entrepreneurs "you need to meet." All the founders on the list have one thing in common, according to the story: they "went from obscurity to mover-and-shaker status this year." Some of them, you already know, like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who's now working on the mobile credit card payment company Square. Others, like the "30 Under 30" honorees behind the local accommodations marketplace AirBnB are just starting to make a name for themselves. And then there are a few who are, well, a little played out. We're looking at you, Chatroulette.
An e-romance on your e-reader. Who knew the e-book would be such a boon for novelists penning whimsical tales of cheesy intrigue? The New York Times reports that "if the e-reader is the digital equivalent of the brown-paper wrapper, the romance reader is a little like the Asian carp: insatiable and unstoppable. Together, it turns out, they are a perfect couple." Romance is performing better than all other genres of e-books, becoming "the fastest-growing segment of the e-reading market, ahead of general fiction, mystery and science fiction." Dominique Raccah, the publisher and chief executive of Sourcebook, has seen the success firsthand. "In the first quarter 8 percent of total romance sales at Sourcebooks were from e-book sales. By the third quarter that number had gone up to 27 percent."
Will crowdfunding survive? As we've seen, using crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter can be a great way to cobble together some cash in a down economy. They allow customers, friends, and strangers to invest in businesses in exchange for a small revenue share later on. But the Wall Street Journalreveals they also have their drawbacks. Most sites, like RocketHub, hold the money until a monetary goal is met. But if it isn't, all funds are returned. Only about 45 percent of projects on RocketHub reach their targets, and the rate drops to 25 percent for small-business ventures. And on a site like IndieGoGo, which releases funds regardless of whether the goal is met, only around 10 percent of projects hit their targets. This has turned some entrepreneurs off. "I wouldn't do it again," says Anton Nocito, a soda maker who used IndieGoGo. "It was worth the try, and it was a good learning expereince, but for me, I may end up going other routes next time."
2011 looking rosy. Literally. Today Pantone announced its color of the next year is Pantone 18-2120 TCX, aka Honeysuckle. It's a bright, coral-tinged pink, which has already popped up in design stores (Jonathan Adler; Crate & Barrel), on runways (Nanette Lepore), and in consumer goods (Sony's Cyber-shot; Mikasa dinnerware). Now that pink rose to the top, should you include it in the color palate of your company's products? Color psychologist Leatrice Eiseman told theWall Street Journal, "We also want [people] to stop and say, 'Oh, neat color. Maybe I need to buy those plates.'"